We Are Sunshine

Sun Up

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Even college satirists are warming up to the case for regular UV exposure

In the amusing rantings of editorial pages in college newspapers, writing sarcastic comments about sunshine has been a tried-and-true right of spring. But this year the tide is turning, as young journalists are catching on to the fact that the establishment has misled them about the “dangers” of sun exposure.

What’s more, they’re doing the new math: The benefits of regular, non-burning UV exposure easily outweigh the easily manageable risks.

Case in point: University of Washington columnist Will Mari, who successfully debated with a schoolmate about the merits of regular sun exposure in a column Feb. 22…

2008-02-25-hot-or-not-copy.jpg“We should move our planet closer to the sun, as soon as possible,” Mari muses. “I’m not sure how we’d do that, but I’m sure there’s a way. Or we could colonize Mercury, which is only 43 million miles to the sun at its closest point. Sure, we might get vaporized, but at least we’d have enough vitamin D. I’d rather fry healthy than die sickly – I’d rather not die deficient in vitamin D.”

Mari’s main point: “We need more sunshine, if anything. We don’t get enough in Seattle, leading to deficiencies of vitamin D, a vitamin that protect people against lymphoma, colon, prostate, lung and even skin cancer (yes, skin cancer). Vitamin D, or the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ is manufactured after skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun.”

Even his counterpoint partner, Eric Uthus, has to be wry to make his anti-sun point – which falls on deaf ears in cloudy, light-deprived Seattle.

“People don’t realize how much the sun ruins one’s day,” Uthus wrote. “I wake up every morning ready to destroy something cute and go through the same monotonous routine that has slowly numbed me into a coma, and then I open up my shades to this thing that gets my mouth muscles curling. I think it’s called a smile. And it scares me.”

To read the entire point-counterpoint essay, click here.